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Monday, March 14, 2011

Second Mondays Event on Downtown Development

So I decided to attend one of the "Second Mondays" events put on by the Downtown Development Initiative. Tonight's event was an update on a few downtown developments. A summary is below.

Doug Smith talked about his Park Place project on Meridian Street. The relocation of Cleveland Street is nearing completion. A new bar, the Lone Goose Saloon, will open soon at the project. The next phase after the Cleveland streetscape project is to continue renovations of the Lumberyard as an event space by renovating the 1920s Pullman train car and adding a rooftop space that will feature views of the downtown skyline and the mountains.

Scott McLain discussed his Constellation development at the Parkway and Clinton. The SpringHill Suites will open May 1st, and the Residence Inn will begin construction this summer. After that, the office and retail (still a "green grocer" as the anchor) will come, then around 100 apartments with rents around $1000/month. He also gave his general ideas for the restaurants that he would like to see come to the development-- a seafood restaurant for the convention crowd "with $40 lobster" (like McCormick and Schmick's) and a restaurant with an emphasis on its brews (like Gordon Biersch or its sister restaurant Big River in Chattanooga). Don't hold me (or Mr. McLain) to those concepts; as he said, he's on "Plan Number 40" for Constellation, and the plans are subject to change. One thing that's holding up progress is the lack of a large office space tenant; while McLain is convinced that moving City Hall is the answer, I think that a large bank (Wells Fargo?) and/or a tech company looking for space may be a bit quicker than waiting for the city to make a decision.

A new event was announced at the meeting-- the Greene Street Market, which will be a farmer's market that will run every Thursday night from May 19th until September in the old Health Department lot at Greene and Eustis, just to the east of the Courthouse and across from the Church of the Nativity.

One last note-- a shout out to the lady who stood up and, having seen it "somewhere" and liked it, commented about the Justice District idea.


Jon said...

Mclain's plans are never what they are advertised. Look at what wound up at 'the mall'. I remember the drawing he had at the time. It was nice but we got nothing even close to it. I hope he doesn't screw up the opportunity he has with that space downtown.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the "lack of a large office space tenant", a few years ago the city of Memphis recruited Autozone's headquarters to a new office building in downtown Memphis and International Paper's operations headquarters to a new ten story office building in nearby Germantown. More recently, Nissan moved their North American opertions from California to Franklin Tennessee. The city of Huntsville needs to identify these types of opportunities and work with the developers like Mr. McClain to lure them to Huntsville. It would help diversify the local economy, provide jobs for people other than engineers and programmers, and increase the tax base. An operation like Autozone could really boost downtown Huntsville and might provide a new corporate sponsor for a downtown baseball park.

Damon said...

I love the brewpub idea for downtown. Brewpubs have been a great addition to the downtown revitalization efforts in cities like Chattanooga and Savannah. There is already a brewing revolution going on in Huntsville with three new breweries in the last year and more on the way. However, it will require a pretty major law change in order for a brewpub to happen. For clarification, a brewpub differs from a brewery in that it is basically a restaurant with fresh brewed beer made on premise. Luckily, a bipartisan bill, SB192 (Brewery Modernization Act), has been introduced in the State Senate. I suggest folks contact their legislators if they support removing restrictions to opening a brewpub. You can learn more here on the Free the Hops website: